Unmitigated Extravagance and Big Bucks for Austin at F1 Weekend

Posted by on Nov 15, 2013 in Rob's Blog

I’m not and have never been a fan of any kind of auto racing, be it Nascar, The Indy 500, Formula 1 or Demolition Derby. Hence, I was not excited when the breathless announcement was made several years ago that Austin would play host to a Formula 1 race. But the sheer glut of excess […]

Why Most Chefs Start So Young

Posted by on Nov 4, 2013 in Rob's Blog

I was watching some food talk show the other night while drifting off to sleep. Last thing I remember was hearing Bobby Flay, nationally known restaurateur, Iron Chef, and host of about 39 shows on the Food Channel acknowledge that he had dropped out of school in 10th grade. Was I surprised that the multimillionaire […]

Could We Have Reached the Saturation Point in Austin Fine Dining?

Posted by on Oct 18, 2013 in Rob's Blog

I can’t remember a time in the past 12 years when I’ve heard so many fine dining owners complain about a slow summer that didn’t immediately turn around when schools got back in session. Could it be that we’ve reached Austin’s limit to accommodate more fine dining places? The first thing that restaurateurs have to […]

Groupon Copywriters Push the Envelope of Mediocrity

Posted by on Sep 23, 2013 in Rob's Blog

As I rule, I don’t pay much attention to the accompanying verbiage on Groupon restaurant deals. In fact I don’t pay much attention to the popular discount offers at all. But my wife called my attention to one last week that was simply too good to ignore. (The restaurant is a good one but for […]

Friendly Competitors

Posted by on Aug 12, 2013 in Rob's Blog

One would assume that restaurants, like other businesses, are inherently competitive with each other. To the extent that you would have never expected Microsoft’s Bill Gates to walk into the launch party for Apple’s I phone and offer congratulatory words. But that’s exactly what happened at the new Barlata Spanish restaurant on South Lamar the […]

“Better Than Sex” in Key West

Posted by on Aug 7, 2013 in Rob's Blog

Okay, calm down folks. This is actually the name of a dessert only restaurant in Key West. The place is as you might expect, dark and seductive. And the dishes themselves are about a 10 on the aphrodisiac scale. You can begin with the “Between My Red Sheets Velvet Cheesecake” or sample the “Chocolate Grilled […]

The Latest Trend in the Wine Business: The Stelvin Closure

Posted by on Jul 17, 2013 in Rob's Blog

One accepted mandate for years in the wine business was the simple concept of loss. Out of 100 bottles of wine that used natural cork as closures, there was almost a given that up to 7% of the bottles could be tainted or “corked” by the presence of the chemical trichloranisole. This was viewed for […]

Where Austin’s Top Chefs Like to Eat

Posted by on Jul 8, 2013 in Rob's Blog

You would think that after nights of toiling away in their own kitchens, Austin chefs would like to hunker down ay home and relax. Au contraire! They go out and let somebody cook for them. We recently saw the uber-hot Paul Qui at Jack Allen’s Kitchen along with his fiancee and partner Deanna. His choice? […]

Why Opening Nights Generally Suck

Posted by on Jun 25, 2013 in Rob's Blog

The near hysteria that surrounded the opening of Paul Qui’s new restaurant on East 6th was not atypical of what happens when the “first in line” frenzy takes over. Gotta love those early adopters. The result yielded about as strange a mix of customer reviews as I’ve ever seen. Some loved it, some hated it, […]

Bizarre and Curious Moments in the Life of a Food Critic

Posted by on Jun 21, 2013 in Rob's Blog

In my 15 years of reviewing restaurants I’ve seen some fairly unusual things: actually far more than I can document. But here are some of my favorites. Got Milk? Several years ago at one of our higher end restaurants a commotion occurred when one of the female patrons with an infant in tow began to […]

Very Important News from the Chain Restaurant World

Posted by on May 31, 2013 in Rob's Blog

As ours is a site that primarily focuses on owner-operated restaurants, every now and then I get some news from the Chain Restaurant world that I just can’t resist commenting on. For example, the Nation’s Restaurant News announces that Applebee’s, which according to their newest hire Peter Czizek, “has a long history of delivering delicious […]

Maybe it’s the Moon or the Smoke from Mexico

Posted by on May 23, 2013 in Rob's Blog

It seems that over the past few weeks, I’ve heard more horror stories than I have in a year about our readers’ bad experiences at restaurants with either service, food, or both. I don’t know what’s going on. Preferably and hopefully, this is just some aberration brought on by inexplicably strange environmental phenomena. A guy […]

Food Friday Celebrates Anniversary

Posted by on Apr 29, 2013 in Rob's Blog

One of the longer running programs on Austin radio is Food Friday on 590 KLBJ-AM. The show airs the last Friday of every month from 9-10am, and we just celebrated our 9th anniversary. The format is simple. I join Mark Caesar, Sgt. Sam Cox, and Ed Clements, and we talk restaurants, food, and anything remotely […]

Closings of Owner-operated Restaurants Trending Upward

Posted by on Apr 3, 2013 in Rob's Blog

There’s almost always a snide comment or twenty from the armchair experts on user-generated websites when an owner operated restaurant closes. And there seem to have been a disproportionate amount of these closings in the past twelve months: Rivals Steakhouse, Mizu, Mesa Ranch, Mirabelle Bistro, Maria Maria, European Bistro, Chon Som, Romeo’s, Old School Grill, […]

Dining on the NCL’s Epic Raises the Bar on the High Seas

Posted by on Mar 11, 2013 in Rob's Blog

We just returned from a week in the Caribbean aboard the Norwegian Cruise Line’s biggest ship, The Epic. The weather sucked, which normally kills a cruise like this one. But for yours truly, the dining was such that it took our minds off the omnipresent clouds and hazy-at-best sunshine. The one rule of thumb on […]

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